My dad was my first pie mentor, and one of my fondest boyhood memories is watching him and my mom make apple pie together. There’s nothing fancy about their favorite pie pastry recipe, but it always works and always makes an excellent, flaky pastry. He made his by hand. I adapted his recipe to the food processor. Both methods follow. Double the recipe for a double-crust pie.
To make the pastry with a food processor: Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Pulse several times to mix. Scatter the butter over the dry mixture. Pulse three or four times. Scatter the shortening over the mixture. Pulse four or five times, until all of the fat is broken into small pieces. Sprinkle the water evenly over the mixture. Pulse again, in very short bursts, just until the pastry forms clumpy little crumbs.
To make the pastry by hand: Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and cut it into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender until the butter forms pea-size pieces. Add the shortening and continue to cut, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs and the butter is in very small pieces. Sprinkle the water over the mixture and mix quickly with a fork until the dough coheres.
To make the pie shell: Dump the crumbs onto your counter or into a large bowl. Pack the dough together as you would a snowball, but don’t overdo it. Place the ball on a piece of plastic wrap. Flatten into a ¾-inch-thick disk. Wrap tightly in the plastic and refrigerate for 1-½ to 2 hours before rolling.